Staff told drowning couple may have been playing dead

Komba Kpakiwa and Josephine Foday died at the four star Down Hall Country House Hotel in Hatfield Heath in Essex, on April 27 last year.

Staff told drowning couple may have been playing dead

A hotel manager described today how staff tried to save a couple who drowned in a pool after first being told they may be "playing dead". Komba Kpakiwa and Josephine Foday died at the four star Down Hall Country House Hotel in Hatfield Heath in Essex, on April 27 last year.

Police seen at Down Hall Country House Hotel in Essex last year Credit: Press Association

At the inquest into their deaths, fellow guest Marcel Haniff said he saw them struggling in the water shortly before they drowned, but thought it may be a prank as there was a Murder Mystery event taking place that night.

Today the hotel's deputy general manager, Craig Vines said:

"I had a message saying they were playing a terrible game or playing dead or that something inappropriate was going on in the pool. When I got to the pool it took me thirty seconds to come to my senses and realise they were in trouble.

"I helped a colleague pull them from the water and started performing CPR."

Hotel guest saw pair 'splashing around in the pool'

A fellow guest at the hotel, Marcel Haniff, told the inquest he had seen the pair splashing around in the pool that evening. He assumed it was "horseplay" and went back to the sauna:

They seemed to be perfectly healthy and just shouting and playing." Seven minutes late, he came out again he saw two bodies lying in the water.

Initially I thought they were still playing around but I then realised it was too still and something was seriously wrong.

There was a murder mystery weekend at the hotel so I thought it may still be a prank.

I ran back to the reception to tell them what had happened. I wish I had spent another 10 seconds or come to a different conclusion.

– Marcel Haniff

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Couple who could not swim 'died in un-manned pool'

A London couple who could not swim died in a hotel pool which was not being monitored by lifeguards or security cameras, an inquest has heard. Komba Kpakiwa and Josephine Foday died at the four star Down Hall Country House Hotel in Hatfield Heath, Essex, on April 27 last year.

Down Hall Country House Hotel in Hatfield Heath, Essex Credit: Press Association

The inquest in Chelmsford heard the pool had not been manned and a CCTV camera which covered the area was broken.